Concert Review: The Courtneys @ Union Stage (12/8/18)

The Courtneys
The Courtneys (Photo Credit: Roxy Campos)

The Courtneys, bringing their garage rock/pop sounds all the way from Vancouver, B.C., swooped into our little blurb and played a festive and energetic show on Saturday, December 8th!

The three-piece band opened for Cloud Nothings at the fairly full Union Stage. As the concert goers sipped their drinks and noshed on Union Stage’s tasty pizza, The Courtneys performed eight songs, in a style of music they like to call ‘slacker pop’ and ‘artisanal grunge’. Ha, who are we to argue? There were plenty of elements of fuzzed out guitar and dreamy pop culture lyrics that shined through.

They kicked off their set with “Silver Velvet”, and it took a beat or two to realize that Jen Twynn Payne was pulling a Phil Collins by belting out the lyrics seated behind the drum kit.

The band formed in 2010, and boasts Jen on lead vocals and drums, Sydney Koke on bass, and Courtney Loove* on guitar. Their second album is aptly titled The Courtneys II, and came out in early 2017. They played four consecutive songs from that album to start their set.

Courtney later announced that they had a gift for Jen, and made her close her eyes, while her and Sydney attempted to hang a small string of Christmas lights on the drums. But the lights wouldn’t work! So they took them down and offered amazing rewards to anyone that could fix them. To wit, one guy in the front played with it enough that the string lit up in glorious success. Much to the joy of Courtney. Later they took another crack at hanging the lights, and thankfully successfully this time, as Jen, it turns out, loves Christmas. The perfect gift. She was also excited about the S’mores food truck down the street on The Wharf.

Later they played “Minnesota”, about how it’s hard to let go (so let’s play in the snow), with a healthy amount of fuzzed out guitar and a catchy beat.

“Nu Sundae” is a ‘really old’ song (from their first album), and robustly encapsulates their overall sound and vibe. And it has a sweet hook and Sydney kicked up the bass line with an ever-present stoic determination.

They ended with, according to Jen, ‘a secret song no one can guess’ and I admit I didn’t guess the name of the new rocking song either.

Get this Canadian band’s latest album on your Christmas wish list!! And give it as a gift. May your holiday season be as festive as a string of lights on a drum set.

Setlist
Silver Velvet
Country Song
Minnesota
Lost Boys
Freak Next Door
Nu Sundae
Dead Dog
(unknown secret song no one can guess)

* Courtney Loove is an ode to the real Courtney Love, and not her real name!

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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